Before I begin, please know that this post does not reflect me and my personal life but is rather an observation of friends, clients, and classmates.
According to an article by Time magazine, in 2013, the average age of brides is 26. Historically speaking, this is the same average as 1995, but lower than 2005. I am sure that most of us are starting to notice a routine: login to Facebook, check notifications, scroll through newsfeed, see someone you know has gotten engaged, post status, log off, and so on... The older I become, the more I see it and I couldn't be happier for all of them! However, the seems to be this 'social stigma' that comes with marriage at a young age and I'm kind of over it.
Whenever I post wedding pictures, I always hear "Wow! They look so young!" and most of the time.. yes, they are. I am 22 years old and most of my brides went to school with me or have been friends of friends around the same age. I can't tell you the number of condescending comments I get about younger couples and here are my thoughts:
It's none of your business.
This is the most important one. The only people that are remotely allowed to have an opinion on a relationship are the ones in it. All too often, I hear people talking about how "so and so will never last" and I would love to punch them in the face. How a relationship works at home should never be defined by a particular moment in public. If a two people are not meant to be together then they will find out for themselves in good time. It's really hard to not intervene in a sour relationship, especially if it's someone close to you, but it's still none of your business. If you have genuine concerns for a friend or family member about spending their life with that person, then a face-to-face discussion is best (NO TEXTING!) If they take your advice then great! If they don't... it's none of your business. Most of the couples I have had the pleasure of working with are so far in love they can't see the sunrise and a lot of people can't see that because they are so affixed on their age.
Marriage is no joke. Sadly, the last decade or so has lead to an influx of social media and with that, came facebook. Facebook has been a great tool for keeping up with family and friends, but has damned so many relationships. Social media has this big ugly dark side that has enabled so many couples to access past relationships, temptations, and spying. It's not something that our generation should be proud of but it's here; I have seen so many relationships crash and burn because of social media, but I have also seen the stem from it. Along with the dark side, comes the need to just "Keep Up With The Joneses." This article sums up the social media aspect and is a great read: On getting #Engaged. It basically states that a growing number of twenty-somethings are getting caught up in the trend of getting engaged just for the sake of it (and for the ring). Pinterest hasn't helped this matter by letting girls create boards of their dream wedding and turning the whole event into more of a DIY-pissing-contest instead of a declaration of love... that's a whole different blog post. With that being said, not all of my younger brides are rushing to the altar for the hashtags. I truly believe that they are in the relationship for the long run.
Let me ask you a question: If you know deep down in your heart that the person you are with is your soul mate and you can't face another day without them -- what are you waiting for? Now I don't mean go propose to the person you've been dating for three months (or do, if that's your thing) but if you are in a relationship that just works... you will feel it. If you feel it, then you know... and "knowing" doesn't have an age limit. I have a feeling that I may be losing some people here because I get the same question from all of my elder folk: What do they know about marriage and life together? (Please refer back to #1, it's none of your business)
Now, let me go back and clarify that when I say why wait? --- I don't mean "why wait to throw a wedding" -- they are two different things. Some couples will wait a few years until they are older and financially stable to get engaged or married and that's perfectly fine! However, don't even begin to talk crap about the couple years younger than you that already tied the knot because again... it's none of your business.
It's statistically true that marriages that begin at a younger age are more likely to end up in divorce, but that statistic is 58% -- what about the rest of the 42%? They are making it work and I would love to think that all of my clients are in that range ;) My parents got divorced just last year, so up until then, I had both parents my entire childhood. I saw good times and bad times, but most importantly, I saw hard work. I know that when my own day comes, I will certainly seek pre-marriage counseling to assure that I can best handle such a huge commitment. It's an ongoing battle that needs tending to everyday but it's doable for anyone. It's a an honor to spend the rest of your life with someone and there is no better feeling in the world than knowing you are in love with your best friend.
So the next time you see a friend get engaged, think of the real reason why you're questioning their decision. Are you jealous? Are you concerned? Or are you just appalled that two people can fall in love so early? No matter what the reasoning is, be happy for them... love is an absolutely beautiful thing and I am so delighted for anyone that gets to enjoy it.
With all that being said, cheers to my young brides, and here is the best advice ever!
*This is an opinion post, please don't send me hateful emails like I have gotten in the past for expressing my opinion on my own website ;)